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Plenary: Winter Gathering 2020: "The Role of the Artist in Times of Crisis"

Saturday, January 25, 2020, 3:50-4:50pm

Multi-Purpose Room (1st Floor)

"The Role of the Artist

in Times of Crisis" 

The  plenary session at the 2020 PMN Winter Convergence features a panel discussion on “The Role of the Artist in Times of Crisis”.  Panelists will share their own perspectives on how they are using music in service of front-line peace and social justice movements.  In a time when the government and media serve to divide and distract the population as a whole, these activists will share the strategies, challenges and successes they face as cultural workers seeking fundamental social change.  The panel will serve an overall goal for the entire weekend-long PMN convergence: to bring diverse artists and activists together to celebrate our craft and to collaborate in using that craft in struggles for a more just, peaceful and ecologically sane world.



Pauline Pisano  (Vital E.) is an artist, activist, cultural worker, and a community organizer in various campaigns throughout New York City. She is a coordinator for the New York City Arts and Culture Committee of The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a movement seeking to address the interlocking issues of racism, militarism, poverty, and ecological devastation. She is a co-founder of Songs In The Key Of Resistance, a cross movement cultural arts incubator housed by The People’s Forum. Pauline organizes for The Institute for the Development of The Human Arts, a movement seeking to offer alternatives to mental health that challenge the current biomedical model. She is also an activist/organizer with Close The Camps NYC and Cosecha NYC. Pauline is set to release an anti-capitalist climate change concept album this April alongside various projects. To follow her work visit vitalemusic.com | @vital_e_ 

Bob Law is a highly respected professional broadcaster with a local as well as national following. He currently hosts From The Streets on WBAI, a program which gives voice to a wide range of Black and progressive political and cultural perspectives. Bob is also the producer of the documentary film, "Say it Loud," which is a feature length film about the state of Black radio today, its relationship with the recording industry, and the importance of independent voices on the public airwaves for the Black community. Bob founded the National Respect Yourself Youth Organization and is currently one of the lead organizers of the Peace Keepers Global Initiative,  an anti-violence movement based in Houston Texas. He is Chair of the Central Brooklyn Leadership Council, operating under the auspices of the Men’s Ministry of the Historic First Church of God in Christ, Brooklyn, New York. Bob also serves as the chairman of the National Black Leadership Alliance.

Dilson Hernandez is a genre merging artist from the Bronx. His talents include creative writing, playing various instruments, spoken-word poetry, singing, audio engineering, and beat making. Although self taught in many of his skills, he received a Bachelor of Arts in both English and Music from the University at Albany. He also became a certified Audio Engineer at the Institute of Audio Research. Dilson wishes to change the world with his art and community work (mostly for youth), aiming to strive for a more progressive and creative future. Some of his work abroad includes teaching English in Haiti and helping build a dorm space for underprivileged children in rural India. Some of his work at home includes facilitating music related workshops with youth in public schools via Urban Art Beat and advocating at courtrooms for 16-21 year-old incarcerated youth in NYC via Friends of Island Academy.  To hear Dilson’s work visit www.dilsonmusic.com/media

Elise Bryant is a revered labor movement educator, organizer and artist. She joined CWA/TNG Local 32035 in 1998 and served as the bargaining unit chair at the National Labor College for eight years.  She currently serves on the Guild’s executive board as a member-at-large. Elise is a lifetime member of the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) as well as AFM Local 1000, In 2012 she was given the Lifetime Achievement award from the international organization, United Association of Labor Educators. As an artist, Elise made her Washington, DC stage debut in Theatre J’s production of Goodnight Irene and founded the DC Labor Chorus. She directed two productions of the labor jazz opera, Forgotten: the Murder at the Ford Rouge Plant, in Detroit and in the Washington, DC area (see www.forgottenshow.net).  She also directed the labor jazz opera Love Songs From the Liberation Wars: the 1940s Tobacco Workers Struggle. After working 35 years as a labor educator, Elise retired from her professorship at the National Labor College to start her own consulting service, the E.L.I.S.E. Consortium and also to serve as the Executive Director of the Labor Heritage Foundation. Her areas of expertise include Communication Skills, Leadership Training, Labor History and Culture, Diversity Training, and “Arts as a Tool for Organizing”.  www.laborheritage.org

Khaiim the RaPoet,  Moderator

An international touring artist and keynote speaker, Khaiim has received critical acclaim as a Hip Hop lyricist while performing with everyone from Pulitzer Prize poets like Alice Walker to Grammy winning MCs like Common.  He’s also recorded in Jay-Z’s studio with J Cole's multi platinum engineer Mez. Although Khaiim lectures at colleges such as Trinity and Yale and earned a commendation from Obama, fans know him as the charismatic MC Self Suffice, whose album with Dreamville's Mez summited the Indie Hip-Hop Top 40. Catch him with his live band performing the new  album"Self Control" at a venue near you!  www.rapoets.com 



















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